Gradescope is a Turnitin solution that enables quick and easy grading. This useful tool saves instructors time and lets them focus on teaching, which is the most important part of the learning process. 

It is undisputed that feedback is very crucial where learning is concerned. This is to help students know how they are doing, which areas to focus on and so forth. It also helps instructors know how they can help their students improve, which concepts to revisit and help them better understand concepts. While Turnitin’s main focus is to empower students to do their best, authentic work, it also saw it best to provide a tool that will help deliver effective feedback and also save instructors grading time. 

Gradescope has solved grading problems for many institutions like Oregon State University. For every module taken, teaching has to remain consistent for every student and the experience has to be as similar as possible. However, with more than 30 000 students, grading each student’s paper was not always that easy. The method that the university used contained instructors grading exams based on the rubric developed by the team and hoped that they would all interpret and apply the rubric the same way. With each instructor drawing their own conclusion from what they were noticing while marking the papers, it was difficult to know how all the students were performing as a whole.  

All of the university’s grading problems were solved when they made a discovery of an entirely new world of data-informed instruction and consistency grading. They could now gain an insight into how all the students answered a certain question. Gradescope provided the university with very unique and clear information for every question regardless of type, from multiple-choice to open-response questions. This allowed instructors to alter instruction, review test questions and easily compare the similarity between versions of exams.  

Instructors could see how many different answers students gave and how each one was popular because it was relatively easy to sort each question and answers into groups. Instructors could then provide the same comment with just one click for every common response and this saved them time.  

Teaching and learning has improved, with the insights gained from Gradescope.  

Want to find out how Gradescope can help you save time on what matters the most? 

Contact Us!

 

What is Self-Citation?

Did you know that when you, as researcher, do not reference or recognise your own work in a research study, it is seen as self-plagiarism? Self-citation is essential to avoid plagiarism. The term self-citation refers to the recognition of your own work when you are expanding on previous research or referring to work you have previously published.  The reasoning behind this? Research is cumulative and therefore you must refer to and attribute prior foundational academic work.

How Should it Be Used?

There is a limit to self-citation, however. When a researcher uses self-citation primarily to create a bigger impact, it becomes a matter of ethics. This unethical behaviour is called excessive self-citation, also referred to as citation manipulation.  COPE states in a study from 2019 that, “When any of the above parties, editors, board members, reviewers, or authors add or request to add citations where the motivations are merely self-promotional this aim violates publication ethics and is unethical. Additionally, whether or not they are requested, citations to the editor’s work should not be added in the belief that this will increase the likelihood of the publication being accepted” (2019).

What Does Self-Citation Look Like?

Self-citation has been called out on numerous occasions by the scientific community. In one computer science example as pointed out by Nature in a study PLoS Biology the scientist “received 94% of his citations from himself or his co-authors up to 2017.” In this same data set, they list around 100 000 researchers of which 250 scientists have attained more than 50% of their citations from themselves or their co-authors. The median rate for self-citation is in fact 12.7% (Van Noorden & Chawla, 2019).

In other words, excessive self-citation is not easy to miss.

The researcher could easily commit citation manipulation when they want to publish work and increase the impact factor. This of course would open up doors for future publications. The journal, on the other hand, could accept it to raise its own impact factor, or it may be a journal that falls into a niche audience with limited topic choices (Sanfilippo et al., 2021).

What Impact Does Self-Citation Have on Academic Integrity?

There is a direct link between self-citation and academic integrity: citations, and thus self-citations, raise the academic reputation of a researcher or journal in the form of the impact factor score, which is a very visible indicator of reputation.

It can, however, have the opposite effect. As academics become increasingly aware of this form of abuse. It has become clear that the more self-citations there are, the more likely the author is trying to self-promote.

How Can This Problem of Self-Citation Be Addressed?

As a first step, raising awareness of self-citation abuse would contribute to the mitigation of misconduct.  It is important that this awareness and underlying drive for academic integrity would guide academics to use self-citation appropriately. To support this, policies are being developed along with objective measurements for self-citation.

iThenticate, by Turnitin, is the leading provider of the professional plagiarism detection & prevention technology used worldwide by scholarly publishers, research departments, and individual researchers and authors to ensure the originality of written work before publication.

Find out more: https://www.eiffelcorp.co.za/digital-learning-products/technology-solutions-for-business/ithenticate-professional-plagiarism-detection/

 

References:

COPE Discussion Article. 2019. Version 1 (July):3. Available Online. https://publicationethics.org/files/COPE_DD_A4_Citation_Manipulation_Jul19_SCREEN_AW2.pdf

Van Noorden, R. and Chawla, D.S. 2019 Hundreds of extreme self-citing scientists revealed in new database. Nature. August. Available Online.  https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02479-7

This blog originally appeared on Turnitin’s blog as posted below:

https://www.turnitin.com/blog/what-is-self-citation-and-what-does-it-have-to-do-with-academic-integrity

Plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct are not new. It has, and most likely will, always find a way into our institutions. No matter its shape or form, any sort of misconduct affects both students and educators in various ways. The impact of Covid-19 has not yet been determined in its entirety, but we do know that it has most likely contributed to turning a blind eye to dishonesty or misconduct. It has, however, been a problem within the academic community in many ways, even before Covid-19. Why do the academic community or institutions often ignore or leave plagiarism and other different types of misconduct unaddressed?  One reason is that there are numerous myths and misconceptions when it comes to plagiarism. The result? The misconstrued ideas surrounding academic misconduct have unfortunately had a serious impact on the quality of research and published academic writing.

So how do we address these issues and improve on our research outputs and academic writing in general? Awareness and improved understanding of the seriousness of the matter – and debunking the myths that surround plagiarism and academic misconduct.

Let’s have a closer look at these myths:

The Myth: Plagiarism is Not a Rising Problem

There’s a misconception that plagiarism is not actually a rising problem. The belief is that it only appears worse because of the development of technology, and therefore ability to detect plagiarism has grown dramatically in the last 20 years. In some ways, the exact opposite is true. While it is indeed easier to detect plagiarism, it’s also much easier to commit plagiarism. This includes more resources and access to materials at the writer or student’s disposal, and simpler methods to integrate content into their own.

The Truth:

Plagiarism is easier and more tempting than ever. As a result, plagiarism retractions are on the rise, even at publications that aren’t using advanced plagiarism-detection technology.

The Myth: Plagiarism is Mostly a Problem Among Students and Not Professionals

While it’s easy to think that plagiarism can mostly be attributed to students, who are seen as inexperienced academics who innocently make mistakes as they enter the world of research. The reality is that plagiarism is a problem at all levels of academia, including professional researchers. In fact, the problem of professional plagiarism has become so bad that the Singapore Medical Journal and the Medical Journal of Malaysia, published a joint statement in 2008, warning researchers against submitting plagiarised works. In the statement, the two publications said that they have “recently encountered a number of submissions of plagiarised work to our respective journals.”

The Truth:

Students do not have sole ownership of the plagiarism problem, and it is an academic issue that is growing both in and outside of the classroom.

The Myth: The Plagiarism Issue is Blown Out of Proportion

Many agree that plagiarism is a problem, but believe that it’s blown way out of proportion. They argue that despite the rising number of retractions, the additional, intense focus and scrutiny on the media and many academics are unjustified. They feel the number of retractions remains small in comparison to the total number of papers published. However, that number does not take into consideration the numerous plagiarised papers that were caught before publication or, more worrisome, the ones that were plagiarised, but not retracted.

The Truth:

Plagiarism is a rapidly-growing problem for both academic and scholarly publications. It is one that is often underestimated due to the inaccurate data on total plagiarism cases.

The Myth: Plagiarism is Harmless

While it is true that a lot of plagiarism and misconduct retractions take place at lesser-known journals, there is often significant harm caused by misconduct in academic literature.

For example, in a recent post by Retraction Watch, it was shown that a series of retracted studies made a potentially dangerous drug treatment appear to be safe, possibly endangering patients’ lives. This analysis correlated with a 2011 study that found fabrications by Scott Reben, an anaesthesiologist, may have resulted in some patients having their post-surgery pain undertreated.

With plagiarism, the dangers are less about patient safety and more about wasted resources. With limited funding, publication space and research space available, plagiarised proposals and studies cause unneeded duplication that wastes those resources and deny them to new, potentially beneficial research.

The Truth:

Plagiarism can cause harmful outcomes in various fields, and limit important research by blocking potential funds.

The Myth: Plagiarism is Primarily a Problem in Non-English Speaking Countries

While there is some truth in this statement – especially for researchers trying to publish in English who are struggling with the language – language barriers are not the only factors that lead to plagiarism.

The Truth:

Plagiarism is very much a global problem with many of the best known and most prolific plagiarists being from the United States, including the recent case of Gerry Lushington, who was censured for misconduct by the US Office of Research Integrity, which more commonly deals with fabrication issues.

The Myth: Almost All Plagiarists Get Caught

With so many new tools to detect plagiarism, search engines and constant communication, it is easy to think that no one, especially a professional researcher, could get away with the misdeed plagiarism in the 2020s.

The Truth:

Things are almost never as they seem.  There are, in fact, limitations to the technology available. Plagiarism dealing solely related to ideas and data, for example, can’t be detected easily – if at all. The biggest blind spot in the technology is that it still requires humans to both use the tools available and draw the correct conclusions.

In other words, yes the tools available can greatly reduce the amount of plagiarism that slips through, but these tools are not used as widely or as accurately as they should.

The Myth: There is Nothing Wrong with Self-Plagiarism

For many, self-plagiarism is a difficult issue. Since plagiarism is about using the ideas and works of another without attribution, how is it possible to plagiarise yourself?

However, publications and government bodies don’t see the issue the same way. Self-plagiarism raises many of the same challenges and problems as traditional plagiarism including duplication in published studies and wasted funding.

The Truth:

Though self-plagiarism doesn’t have a direct victim the way regular plagiarism does, it still poses a disadvantage to other researchers who might be denied a chance to be published or the opportunity to acquire funding based on original work.

Conclusion

Much like the misinformation found online today, many myths about plagiarism are believable because at their core, there seems to be some truth. In reality though, these myths form a small part of a more complex and evolving situation. Plagiarism, its consequences and its causes, are not straightforward.

Contact us and find out how the solutions that we offer with our partners at Turnitin, can help your institution fight the spread of plagiarism and other forms of misconduct.

 

This blog was first published on:

https://www.ithenticate.com/resources/webcasts/7-plagiarism-myths-debunked

 

Eiffel Corp partnered with CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa as an associate sponsor of the seventh annual Future of Education Summit. Hosted virtually for the second year in a row, the summit took place on Thursday, 29 July 2021.

The event brought together experts from 25 countries across the world, in an attempt to answer whether education needs to be redefined – during and post pandemic. And if yes, to what degree. Various panel discussions tackled different topics within the theme, “Redefining the Purpose of Education.”

The event started with an opening address from Rakesh Wahi, Founder of the Future of Education Summit and Co-Founder of the ABN Group. Mr. Wahi shared key thoughts on the impact of Covid-19 on the global education sector, raising the question of whether the current pathway for academic progression is relevant to the future.

Our Director of Digital Learning Services, Myles Thies, had the opportunity to join in on an important discussion relating to “Technologies Transforming the Face of Education.”

The following message was aired to introduce thoughts and set the context for this panel discussion: “The transformation brought on by the covid 19 pandemic globally across all industries is likely to continue. While edtech, online teaching, and learning became more prominent in the education sector, both the strengths and weaknesses of online education have been exposed. As the world moves out of the shadows of the pandemic, a blended learning model is most likely to emerge and last into the future. The technological trends most likely to shape the face of education include artificial intelligence, hybrid course models, data-driven student analysis, open education resources, quality virtual learning, big data, blockchain, gamification, robotics, and the Internet of Things, and 3d printing.”

Fifi Peters, Anchor at CNBC Africa, facilitated the conversation. She opened in agreement on the several technologies that are transforming the face of education and then raised the important question of “how many of them are applicable for an African setting.” The panel was joined by Prof Dan Atkins, group CEO of the Transnational Academic Group, Dr. Felix Panganayi (Founder and Director at the Windsor School of Excellence in Science and Technology in Zimbabwe), Dean McCoubrey, (Founder at My Sociallife), and our very own Myles Thies (Director of Digital Learning Services).

While the discussion was focused on transformational technology, an important focus was placed on the gaps that exist within the education sector. From lack of access to data to digital literacy, there was a general consensus that not all institutions were on the same playing field when it came to the implementation or application of blended or online learning. McCoubrey added it is important to note there are three components to learning is, one is education (teaching), other technology (edtech), and thirdly, humanity. Aside from access to information and resources, there is an important component that cannot be overlooked, which is mental wellness, and the soft skills that go with human interaction. In other words, going forward we need to “ensure that the balance of soft skills interacting and the human aspect of teaching and learning is also maintained.”

Myles Theis explained the realities that were revealed during Covid-19, “We quickly saw that it takes a lot more than just pieces of technology in order to be able to really create this successful learning experience, bring people in, pull them through a program, and then obviously help them achieve those skills, or within the original framework that we envision…from schools level, all the way through to corporate learning to higher education a lot of growing up had to be done and a lot of experimentation happened.”

“We’ve seen traditional models of teaching and learning really struggling to cope with the challenges required by the pandemic,” said Thies.  Adding that “a lot of the thinking that had to take place could now inform what happens in the future.”  Institutions and schools can now ask important questions such as, “Where do we spend our money? How do we actually get the greatest benefit out of the technology that we apply? And how do we redevelop the programs that we are presenting…so that they meet the needs of the relevant groups of people in those programs as well as meet the needs of all the different stakeholders.”

The panel also touched on how Covid-19 has accelerated innovation and how we’ve seen challenges met with new solutions. Most importantly, however, none of the technology adds the value it is supposed to when it is not accessible – whether through pricing or through lack of skills.

Myles Thies explains, “It is really important that tech solutions are given to teachers who have the right kind of skills to be able to apply them in the right way. And I think the leadership in those institutions, and across every single region around the world, particularly for Africa, should be enabled to understand what they’re going to do for their learners, and how to make the best use of these tools.” Dean McCoubrey agreed, “I think it’s very easy for us to get stuck in the emerging tech and the innovations. But actually, we have a problem with basic access, basic education, and inclusion. So that’s really where we are as a continent and as a country.”

Watch the full panel discussion in the recap below:

Future of Education Contact Form

Complete the form and we will be intouch

 

Sponsors for this event included UCT GSB, Vodacom Business, Eiffel Corp, the University of Johannesburg, Vuma, Transnational Academic Group, Lancaster University of Ghana, and Curtin University Dubai.

 

 

 

Johannesburg, South Africa: Covid-19 has disrupted higher education both locally and internationally. Institutions have largely had to close on-campus education, as the virulence of the pandemic halted all the normalcies of life, both socially and economically.

While there certainly are many challenges and negative impacts, innovation and the embracing of change have seen South African educators create The Invigilator – a solution that is as relevant now as it would be in the post-Covid-19 world.

The biggest shift in education has been from physical to remote or online learning and assessment. This move has thrown a massive spotlight on the inequalities amongst students, with lack of access to equipment and consistent internet connections being but a few of the challenges. Remote and online assessments have brought the integrity of academic outcomes and qualifications into question. While there are existing proctoring solutions that address some of the risks of academic dishonesty, they usually come at a high cost, high-end infrastructure requirements, yet again highlighting inequitable access to education.

The Invigilator was developed in South Africa by lecturers who recognised the challenges of infrastructural limitations and academic integrity with assessments faced in our new learning environments.

Compatible with entry-level smartphones and designed to be a low data solution, The Invigilator allows examiners to choose from a variety of photo authentication and speech recording tools, matched to the level of security required for each assessment.  The Invigilator leverages Artificial Intelligence to assist examiners in verifying students’ identities and flagging suspicious activities during an assessment. The app does not require the infrastructure needs and costs of alternative solutions, nor does it need constant internet connectivity. Furthermore, it can act as an invigilator for both written and digital assessments. A student can therefore complete an assessment with access to an entry-level smartphone only. Rolled out in the second half of 2020, The Invigilator boasts a high volume of users with thousands of assessments completed.

In partnership with Eiffel Corp, an award-winning technology company specialising in digital education, training and communication, The Invigilator will be available to educational institutions as a cost-effective solution designed with educators and students in mind.

“It is always great to see innovation in challenging times. The Invigilator demonstrates how the creative nature of South Africans can see us develop solutions for the African market, and beyond. We are proud to partner with yet another solution that will see our clients realise the potential of technology in education.” Robyn Abrahams, Eiffel Corp – General Manager: Sales

 

For more info regarding The Invigilator app visit their website 

 

About Eiffel Corp (PTY) Ltd:  With over 20 years of experience in education and training, Eiffel Corp is a proudly South African company offering bespoke services and solutions designed to address each phase of the student lifecycle.  Eiffel Corp’s expertise in optimal learning solutions guides organisations, both locally and internationally, as they prepare for tomorrow, today, by helping organisations adapt and realise the potential of technology in education.

 

Eiffel Corp does it Again 

Eiffel Corp is proud to announce another win, taking the title of Best eLearning Consultancy Firm in Africa 2020.  This comes shortly after being rewarded the African Excellence Award as the Most Innovative Higher Education Technology Company of 2020.  

The Small Business Awards 

This recognition comes from Corporate Vision Magazine, who runs the Small Business Awards annually to identify and present small businesses who demonstrate innovative products and services, while upholding an exemplary reputation within their industry. 

According to Awards Coordinator, Steven Simpson, “Small businesses and their dedicated owners form the solid foundation of our global corporate landscape, despite the trying hardships and obstacles they may incur along the path to success! 

Each year, Corporate Vision Magazine proudly seeks out the very best that the small business community has to offer on a global basis. 

How are Winners Selected? 

Corporate Vision Magazine searches across the globe to identify companies who they feel represent the “sheer determination and dedication it takes to establish, run and grow a small business successfully! 

As a company, we had absolutely no role in being nominated for this award, other than excelling at what we do. The awards are purely judged on merit, with an in-house research team who research and analyse information related to the companies they identify. Nominees do support their case with information requested. 

“Being winners of the 2020 Small Business Awards and the African Excellence Awards, confirms that we are on the forefront of edtech technology and development in Africa. We are also grateful that we can contribute to solutions in EdTech, especially now when it is needed most. I wish to thank our incredible team of experts for their dedication and hard work that has awarded Eiffel Corp as a leader in edtech for 2020,” Ian Light, CEO at Eiffel Corp. 

Well done to each and every team member at Eiffel Corp who has played their part in making these awards happen. 

Eiffel Corp Recognised for Setting an EdTech Trend

COVID-19 to change the face of digital education in Africa

Once the COVID-19 crisis is over, the face of digital education will change forever. Decision-making around providing stable and quality-driven access and productivity to support remote learning and working will be pushed to the top of the list.

So says Myles Thies, director of Digital Learning Services at Eiffel Corp, an e-earning and blended learning specialist.

One technology that will be increasingly used to support digital learning in Africa, he says, is the cloud. “We have experienced a gradual migration to cloud-based offerings over the last three years but this is now accelerating quickly due to the challenges revealed by the pandemic.”

Cloud technologies such as those provided by large players like Microsoft Azure have become a critical component of how the company rolls out, maintains and supports its technology services. Clients that had the foresight to embark on a cloud-based strategy have been the least technically affected by the current lockdown restrictions and have had far less security, availability, latency and other challenges to deal with than others, he adds.

Educational institutions are traditionally slower at making big strategic decisions as they tend to involve multiple stakeholders and have smaller budgets to play with, says Thies. Under the current situation, however, plans already in place to move to the cloud are being pushed through far more quickly and decision that affect how the students and learners access their digital learning spaces are getting major focus whereas they were only secondary considerations before.

Maturing open source

“We also see a big shift in the acceptance and application of maturing open source solutions, paired with professional support and services that we offer,” he adds. “With the traditionally more open structures prevalent in learning institutions, open source technology has enjoyed a wider acceptance. This has allowed us to provide highly customised and needs-specific solutions with minimal configuration and development for a fraction of the cost of international proprietary systems.”

This means that Eiffel Corp can service many more customers who would not consider expensive enterprise systems such a learning management system, or student management system, due to the historical costs associated with three to five-year dollar-based contracts. “Our rand-based pricing models guarantees resourcing and budgetary certainty which is critical, particularly at a time like this when exchange rates are causing sleepless nights for any institution with a foreign denominated payment.”

A lot to be done

Thies says there is still a lot to be done in Africa.

“Capable and dependable infrastructure is still lacking in places and access to information and the Internet is well below other parts of the developing world. Authorities in many African countries have only just started or are still in the early stages of enabling digital economies and strategies.”

He says pockets have emerged that are showing how fast things can be changed and caught up. “One of the great benefits of being a latecomer to the development party is that countries can apply the latest innovations without the complicated legacy of past technology and regulation.”

Speaking of how Eiffel Corp is addressing Africa’s challenges, he says, as a rule, his organisation thinks about the context in which its technology solutions are used.

“Being born and bred in Africa means we understand the challenges faced by the typical learner who encounters myriad technical and resources shortages on a daily basis. We design and implement systems that meet the needs of data-scarce environments but which are enabled to cater for rapid growth, adaptation and increasingly sophisticated levels of application as our customer and their stakeholders’ capabilities grow.”

This release was featured online

Eiffel Corp Recognised for Setting an EdTech Trend

Guiding Organisations as They Prepare for Tomorrow

Finalists and winners for the prestigious global EdTech Awards 2020, were recently announced to a worldwide audience.  This audience of educators, technologists, students, parents and policymakers all share the passion for building a better future for learners and leaders in the education and workforce sectors. We are proud to announce that Eiffel Corp, a leader in Edtech throughout Africa has been selected as a finalist in the category, ‘Edtech company setting a Trend.’

“Eiffel Corp’s position as finalist recognises our integral role in the education sector, especially in a time where EdTech has become part of a worldwide solution to continued teaching and learning during the COVID-19 crisis,” says CEO of Eiffel Corp, Ian Light.

“The EdTech Awards rewards people in and around education for outstanding contributions in transforming education through technology to enrich the lives of learners across the globe, and we are honoured to have been chosen as a finalist, being acknowledged as one of the 50 trendsetters worldwide,“   says Light.

“The finalists and winners of the 2020 Edtech Awards were narrowed from a large field of expertise who were judged based on various criteria which included pedagogical workability, efficiency and results, support, clarity, value and potential. The EdTech Awards, celebrating its 10th anniversary, is a US based program, the largest of its kind, acknowledging the game changers in edtech as well as those who soon will be,” Light explains.

Eiffel Corp, a level-2 BBBEE certified company, celebrating 22 years of success across Africa, prides itself as a leader in digital learning and blended learning development. Our best-of-breed range of products and world-class strategic services empower learners, educators, trainers and faculties across Africa and the globe,” explains Light.

“We are proud to be recognised as a trend setter by Edtech Awards, who has a reputation for choosing the world’s ‘best and brightest’ as finalists for the awards annually. Being a finalist, confirms that we are on the forefront of edtech technology and development in Africa. We are also grateful that we can contribute to solutions in EdTech, especially now when it is needed most. I wish to thank our incredible team of experts for their dedication and hard work that has awarded Eiffel Corp a finalist position this year,” Light concludes.

Academic integrity -Teaching not punishing

Could academic integrity tools be used to develop well-rounded, contributing members of society, foster academic writing and be a key teaching tool?

Q & A with Myles Thies, Director of Digital Learning Services at Eiffel Corp and Magriet De Villiers, Academic Development Coordinator at Stellenbosch University examine the question of academic integrity at higher education in South Africa.

How do we develop graduate attributes such as:

  • Well rounded, personally & socially accountable human beings
  • An enquiring mind – critical and creative problem solvers
  • Critical Self-Direction & drive
  • Engaged citizens
  • Dynamic & prepared professionals

MT: At such a time in our history, South Africa needs citizens who can take personal and societal transformation seriously and can read the sign of the times: information vs fake news; ethics vs corruption. Fortunately, a common trait among many young millennials is the commitment to personal causes and that address social injustices and global challenges.

According to UCT academic, Greg Boyle, ensuring academic integrity is so important it mustn’t be left to chance, but should become part of the institution’s technology policies.,In actuality, this implies that the technology and its associated policies must only form the framework around which individuals develop their efforts. If a large majority of learners are bumping up against academic integrity policies or are being stalled by the tools, it implies that programmes to address integrity are ineffectual.

The best technologies in any institution, are those that are integrated and work unseen in the background

At Stellenbosch University, for example, Turnitin (Tii), the worlds foremost academic integrity tool, could be used more widely than a fact-checker.  It is usually used summatively, used as the last bar to punish a student – ‘your project just wasn’t good enough’.  There is no opportunity for students to learn during the process.  Generally, students submit an assignment which has a high credit weighting and there is no place to improve, unless with another assignment.

MdV: Tii could be a formative tool of teachers rather than a punishing tool.

Tii shouldn’t be a once-off for final submission, but used throughout writing and studies and reviewed with a student.  The tool could help the student improve with their writing and grammar?

Many institutions, Stellenbosch University being an example, use Tii with postgraduate students as a sandbox/playpen.  There is no repository, students upload their thesis, if the lecturer picks up something, they notify the student, which improves the writing process.

According to Ernest Hemmingway: “There is nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at a typewriter & bleed”.

There is dissonance in good academic writing – It’s impossible to have good post-grad writers if under-graduates are not good writers.  Tii or other such tools could also foster academic writing skills.

How do we teach and measure without using NOT?

MdV: What if we address writing affirmingly rather than a negatively:  Red scratches on a paper mean nothing.  Facts might be correct, but the formulation might need attention.

We can give up-building critique without NOT, DON’T and still be constructively critical.

The Theology Department at Stellenbosch University embraces the positive rather than a negative starting point.  Instead of so sorry I’m late, rather thank you for waiting for me.

How do you personally use Tii as a teaching and learning tool?

MdV:   At SU, I am allocated one tutorial to discuss academic integrity with under-graduates students per semester.  Students discuss assignment themes – what students have done in the past (anonymously) and not in such detail as to get content, but to use as an example.

Some lecturers use the tool as a sandbox, where students can submit papers prior to the deadline to identify specific problems such as language and translation.

Does Tii fall under the SU technology policy framework?

MdW:   Tii has different outputs depending on the academic integrity philosophy in each department or faculty) eg theology vs arts, science and engineering.  Tii recently celebrated its 1 billionth student paper submission.

Plagiarism is viewed differently in the science and engineering faculty vs the law faculty. Different faculties apply plagiarism differently.  For example, in the law faculty, a student would need to cite past cases to create a precedent, this would not be plagiarism.

SU is positioned as a research institution and this impacts how academic integrity is reviewed.  Other institutions focus on under-graduates or TVET students.

Join us on the 27th of August at 14:00 as Magriet discusses Academic Integrity in 2020.
Magriet will address the important questions of “What is Academic Integrity?” And how things have changed in terms of academic misconduct, specifically in the COVID-19 context of more online and less face-to-face teaching.
Register here to join us:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMuduCrpzwsH9UM-AhRmaI5RZCWW094eFpy

Eiffel Corp, one of Africa’s leading digital education companies, believes that gaining and building the trust of their educators and institutions in delivering world-class education to students, is the reason they have been successful over the past 22 years having expanded their services across Africa and abroad.

Founders Andre and Gwen Van der Merwe are both passionate about education and extremely proud to have been at the forefront of popularising learning technology in universities throughout Africa. Their pioneering spirit has enabled Eiffel Corp to the level of an industry leader and a respected contributor to digital education innovation.

According to CEO Ian Light, Eiffel Corp attributes their success to the ability, throughout their journey, to gain and build the trust of customers whilst assisting them to maximise the use and value of their tech investment.

“At Eiffel Corp, we are fanatical about investing in human capital at university level, in fact, our approach is advising universities to spend less on flashy expensive tech and more on professional development for their staff as well as solutions that have lasting value and applicable outcomes,” says Light. Fit-for-purpose LMS’s (Learning Management Systems) have been a success in the African arena as a functioning and contextualised platform that help universities offer many more learners’ access to quality education even with challenges in place. Eiffel Corp’s systems and approach have helped thousands of learners reach their learning potential to date and they aim to do everything possible to increase access and quality with every new partner and community they work in.

Light explains that Africa has significantly more challenges to overcome than other parts of the world as the socio-economic and political landscape in Africa is very different, which consequently affects factors such as access to education, infrastructure and funding. Creating access to learning through traditional education facilities i.e. bricks and mortar, has been an ongoing challenge to many governments and providers across Africa.  Resources and access to funding have always been and will continue to be a challenge for African universities. This also provides an opportunity to innovate as only Africans can and in this lies a real opportunity to thrive,” said Light.

Stefan du Plessis, Chief Commercial Officer at Eiffel Corp, goes on to explain that Eiffel Corp’s focus is innovation, not invention and understands that it is impossible for one organisation to solve learners and partners problems on their own. “Apart from our own research and development, we keep abreast of the latest digital developments across various sectors and continuously explore how we can leverage these to address partner challenges,” says Du Plessis. “EdTech is definitely working in Africa and although there are numerous obstacles, African organisations have come up with some of the most innovative solutions to resolve the challenges. Our educational institutions have been at the forefront of digital adoption for many years. With the next level of unprecedented global growth to come from this continent; it is important that we understand that organisations invest in EdTech solutions to make quality education accessible and impactful to everyone. Eiffel Corp has the experience to deliver fit for purpose EdTech solutions across our continent and that is why we are successful,” Du Plessis added.

Eiffel Corp Director of Digital Learning Services, Myles Thies says there is still a lot to be done throughout Africa.  According to Thies, capable and dependable infrastructure is still lacking in places and access to information and the internet is well below other parts of the developing world. Additionally, authorities in many African countries have only just started or are still in the early stages of enabling digital economies and strategies. “Pockets have emerged that are showing how fast things can be changed and caught up. One of the great benefits of being a latecomer to the development party is that countries can apply the latest innovations without the complicated legacy of past technology and regulation,” said Thies.  “Additionally, demographically, according to The World Economic Forum, Africa has the fastest growing and youngest population in the world which puts it at the forefront of growth potential ahead of everyone else. Leveraging these advantages, Africa can build its own digital future both quickly and sustainably,” Thies explained.

“The difference between achieving success or not will depend on leadership and consistently sound decision making over time to support that digital future. Africa needs strong democratic principles at every level of society, founded on established rights and principles, so that all individuals are enabled and free to contribute in their small way to that future,” Thies commented.

Light says he would like to see Eiffel Corp continue their mission to improve education throughout Africa.  “We are proudly African, and we would like to continue working alongside our African compatriots and colleagues to ensure they achieve the best possible outcomes for their investments with fit for purpose technology, training, innovation and local support”, says Light.

“We have come to realise over the past few years that the big international corporates often have impressive sales and marketing messages, but they do not carry the experience, relationships or local knowledge needed in our African market.  We believe the time has come for African based organisations to collaborate and support our local institutions with the best available technology pioneered right here in South Africa.  Africa has the skills and expertise required, institutions no longer need to look at expensive foreign technology,” he concluded.